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Coe, George Albert (26 March 1862–09 November 1951), psychologist of religion, religious educator, and political activist, was born in Mendon, New York, the son of the Reverend George W. Coe, a Methodist minister, and Harriet Van Voorhis. He completed the A.B. at the University of Rochester in 1884 and then enrolled in the Boston University School of Theology, where he received the S.T.B. in 1887 and the A.M. in philosophy and world religions in 1888. In 1891, after a year of study at the University of Berlin, he completed a Ph.D. at the Boston University School of All Sciences....

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Coughlin, Charles Edward (25 October 1891–27 October 1979), Catholic priest, radio personality, and political insurgent, was born in Hamilton, Ontario, the son of Thomas Coughlin and Amelia Mahoney, devout Catholics of Irish descent. Thomas Coughlin was the sexton of the Catholic cathedral in Hamilton; Amelia attended mass daily and dreamed of seeing her only child enter the priesthood. Throughout his youth Charles was surrounded by the institutions of the church. His family lived on the cathedral grounds, and he attended local parish schools. At age twelve he entered St. Michael’s, a secondary school and college run by the Basilian order and intended to prepare young boys to enter the clergy. Coughlin remained at St. Michael’s through college and in 1911 entered St. Basil’s Seminary to begin formal training for the priesthood. He was ordained in 1916, at the age of twenty-three. After teaching at Basilian schools in Canada for seven years, Coughlin left the order in 1923 and moved to Michigan to become a parish priest. Three years later he was assigned to a new parish in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, where he spent the rest of his life. He named his church the Shrine of the Little Flower, for the recently canonized Ste. Thérèse....

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Dembitz, Lewis Naphtali (03 February 1833–11 March 1907), attorney and activist in public affairs, was born in Zirke, Prussia. His father, Sigmund Dembitz, was a surgeon whose degree from a Prussian university precluded his practicing in Austria, which required an Austrian degree. He, his wife Fanny Wehle, and their three children therefore led a wandering existence throughout other parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, particularly Poland, while Sigmund unsuccessfully sought a profitable practice in various small towns. The young Dembitz attended schools in Munchenberg, Brandenburg, Frangbord, and Sagan and graduated at age fifteen from the Gymnasium of Glogau University in Frankfort-on-the-Oder. Dembitz’s family did not observe religious rituals. A schoolmate at Glogau introduced him to Orthodox Judaism when Dembitz was thirteen, however, and as an adult he adhered strictly to its tenets and rituals. His one semester of legal studies in Prague was interrupted by the unsuccessful political uprising of 1848. Although neither he nor his family were active participants, they found that the combination of their sympathy for the uprising’s libertarian goals and their Jewishness, assimilated though it was, made life in the Empire uncomfortable. Thirty-five members of the interrelated Wehle, Dembitz, and Brandeis families therefore immigrated to the United States in 1849....

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Eddy, George Sherwood (19 January 1871–03 March 1961), lay evangelist and political activist, was born in Leavenworth, Kansas, the son of George Eddy, a prominent businessman and civic leader, and Margaret Norton. Of Puritan stock, Eddy’s forebears had come to Kansas to prevent it from becoming a slave state. Eddy studied civil engineering at Yale University, receiving a Ph.B. in 1891....

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Husband, Herman (03 October 1724– June 1795), backcountry planter and radical millennialist, was born in Cecil County, Maryland, the son of William Husband and Mary Kinkey, slaveholders and members of the local planter gentry. Husband’s early education included tutoring by his grandfather, Herman Kinkey; he also read on his own. Religion played an important part in his youth. William Husband demanded that the family attend Anglican services. Herman Kinkey emphasized the need for personal salvation, and Mary Husband concurred, following a strict moral code of behavior that clashed with her husband’s and son’s gambling, dancing, and other pastimes....

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Moulton, Ebenezer (25 December 1709– March 1783), Baptist minister and political activist, was born in Windham, Connecticut, the son of Robert Moulton and Hannah Grove, farmers. He had no formal education. Early in his life he developed an interest in religious work. In 1736 he joined his parents in starting a new Baptist congregation in South Brimfield, Massachusetts, for which he was later ordained a regular Baptist minister (1741). He was ordained to the ministry by John Callendar of Newport, an old-order Baptist, which for the time defined Moulton’s theological position as Five Principle Calvinistic, emphasizing redemption for the elect of God. One of Moulton’s first official actions in South Brimfield was to organize a congregational petition to the Massachusetts General Assembly for exemption from the religious tax....

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Ogden, John Cosens (15 November 1751–26 September 1800), clergyman and Jeffersonian Republican propagandist, was born near Elizabethtown, New Jersey, the son of Moses Ogden and Mary Cozzens (also spelled Cosens and Cosins), artisans. Having graduated from the College of New Jersey (Princeton) in 1770, Ogden moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where he was employed by the collector of the port of New Haven, ...

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Pelley, William Dudley (12 March 1890–01 July 1965), novelist, religious and political leader, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the son of William George Apsey Pelley, a Methodist minister and printer, and Grace Goodale. Pelley's family lived in several Massachusetts communities during Dudley's childhood. He dropped out of Springfield Technical High School during his sophomore year at the behest of his father, who needed his son to help him in a toilet paper factory he co-owned....

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Russell, Clayton (1910–1981), minister and political activist, was born in Los Angeles, California. Primarily educated in Los Angeles area schools, Russell also studied theology in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the early 1930s at the nation’s International College. Russell later remarked that his experiences studying abroad profoundly influenced his thinking about the plight of fellow African Americans in the United States. Foremost among his overseas memories was a visit to prewar Germany, where the Los Angeles cleric witnessed firsthand the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Nationalist Socialist (Nazi) party and its racist ideology. The eventual Nazi political triumph in Germany made him keenly aware of what a German victory in the Second World War would mean for American blacks....

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Smith, Gerald Lyman Kenneth (27 February 1898–15 April 1976), minister, publisher, and political crusader, was born in Pardeeville, Wisconsin, the son of Lyman Z. Smith, a farmer and traveling salesman, and Sarah Henthorn, a schoolteacher. Raised in poverty in small towns in Wisconsin, Smith graduated from Viroqua High School, where he won prizes for track and oratory....

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Wright, Theodore Sedgwick (1797–25 March 1847), black Presbyterian minister and reformer, was born in New Jersey and brought up in Schenectady, New York, the son of R. P. G. Wright, an early opponent of the American Colonization Society’s program of returning American blacks to Africa. (His mother’s name is unknown.) He was named after a distinguished Massachusetts jurist, ...